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Everything you need to know about food poisoning

If you’ve ever had food poisoning, you know it’s something you wouldn’t wish on your worst enemy. (Or maybe you would.) The constant rushing to the toilet, combined with the fear that you might not make it there in time — not to mention the physical pain — makes food poisoning something you want to avoid at all costs.

foodpoisoning

Caused by consuming food or drink that has been contaminated by disease-causing bacteria, viruses or parasites, food poisoning can occur within a few hours or a few days after exposure — which can leave you wondering where you went wrong. But to help you avoid getting sick, you should be aware of the foods most likely to contain infections organisms. They include:

• Raw or undercooked meat, poultry and shellfish

• Raw or undercooked eggs or foods that contain eggs as an ingredient

• Soft cheeses

• Unpasteurized juices, milk and milk products

• Uncooked hot dogs, luncheon meats and other processed meats

• Refrigerated meat spreads and pates

Common symptoms of food poisoning include nausea, vomiting, fever, diarrhea and abdominal pain. The 12 most common bacteria, germs and viruses that can cause foodborne illness are:

  1. Clostridium perfringens — Symptom onset is six to 24 hours; potential food sources include beef, poultry and dried and precooked foods
  2. Listeria — Symptom onset is nine to 48 hours; potential food sources include cheeses, unwashed raw produce and processed meat like hot dogs and lunch meats
  3. Norovirus — Symptom onset is 12 to 48 hours; potential food sources include contaminated water, shellfish and raw produce
  4. Salmonella — Symptom onset is 12 to 72 hours; potential food sources include eggs, raw or undercooked chicken, turkey and other meats and precut fruit
  5. Clostridium botulinum (botulism) — Symptom onset is 18 to 36 hours; potential sources include improperly canned foods and foods kept at warm temperatures for too long
  6. Shigella — Symptom onset is 24 to 48 hours; potential sources include raw produce and seafood
  7. Rotavirus — Symptom onset is one to three days; potential sources include raw produce
  8. Vibrio — Symptom onset is one to four days; potential sources include raw or undercooked shellfish, particularly oysters
  9. Campylobacter — Symptom onset is two to five days; potential sources include raw or undercooked poultry and contaminated water
  10. E. coli — Symptom onset is three to four days, potential sources include raw or undercooked beef, contaminated water and raw produce
  11. Giardia lamblia — Symptom onset is one to two weeks; potential sources include raw produce and contaminated water
  12. Hepatitis A — Symptom onset is 28 days; potential sources include raw produce and shellfish from contaminated water

Unfortunately, there are no specific treatment methods to help you get rid of food poisoning quickly, but you can help relieve your symptoms by allowing your stomach time to settle, eating bland foods, drinking lots of fluids and getting plenty of rest.

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